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'UPA Govt. playing with Sachar report for petty political gains'

Wednesday July 06, 2011 06:33:50 PM, Agencies

New Delhi: Blaming directly the UPA government for the alienation of Muslims, Rakesh Basant, a former member of the Sachar Committee and a professor of economics at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad says it’s not the Sachar report but the Congress led UPA government’s policies which have become a roadblock in the overall mainstreaming of Muslims in India.

“Making the Ministry of Minority Affairs the nodal agency for implementing the Sachar Committee recommendations was a grave error, and has probably gotten in the way of mainstreaming this process,” writes Basant in his article published on the website of the Centre for Advanced Study of India (CASI) University of Pennsylvania.

Almost after five years after the report was submitted, Basant criticizes the government for narrowing down the recommendations of Sachar for petty political gains.


According to him by recommending formation of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) the Sachar Committee advocated general programs with better inclusion of all under-privileged groups including Muslims rather than Muslim-specific programs. They in turn could have facilitated the mainstreaming of Muslims and other marginalized groups.

“The UPA has not only picked up recommendations in isolation, but has also highlighted the community-specific programs and its implementation in its election manifesto and other communications…Apparently, the mainstreaming measures recommended by the Sachar Committee had much less political utility than promises of community-specific benefits and programs,” adds Basant.

Instead the government recasted them into community specific programmes and emphasized too much on minor recommendations like those related to Urdu and Madarsa education when it was reported that less than four percent of Muslim children go to Madarsas.

“Typically, community specific recommendations, which were quite minor in the overall framework of the report, are being focused upon and actually enhanced. As a result, the main recommendations, which were not community specific, are getting sidelined and even being re-cast as Muslim-specific,” adds Basant.

According to Basant, if the government is serious about preventing the ghettoization of the community then the implementation task of the Sachar recommendations should be given to line departments instead of the Minorities Affairs Ministry (MMA).

“The policy-making and implementation task should lie with a general ministry – such as the Ministry of Home or Finance – to obviate this bias,” adds Basant.

Basant further adds that policy action shouldn’t be seen only through the “minority lens…It is important to recognize that mainstreaming would require a significant change in the nature of politics.”

Surprised at the selective use of recommendations, Basant says that “such actions would make the BJP’s claims of minority appeasement seem more credible to voters in the majority community.”










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